Associate Dean Berwick Testifies in Support of Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act

Philip C. Berwick, Associate Dean for Information Resources and Senior Lecturer in Law, testified on March 27 before the Government Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee of the Missouri Senate in support of Senate Bill 478, which incorporates the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) into the Missouri Revised Statutes.

The UELMA states that electronic versions of primary legal material, such as statutes, administrative rules or cases, must be authenticated before they can be considered official. This authentication process ensures that the record received by the user is in a complete and unaltered form and thus presumed to be accurate.

In a written supplemental statement, Berwick said that although the timely and accurate postings of primary materials on an official government website are necessities, they are not sufficient to ensure the basic trustworthiness of the record if the record, itself, is to be designated as official. The UELMA sets out the legislative framework to achieve this level of trustworthiness.